Poliomyelitis, commonly known as polio. It is a disease that can spread in many ways through infection. The virus responsible for this particular disease is called Poliovirus. Polio causes muscle weakness and, in some cases, leads to an inability to move. In a few cases of muscle weakness, about 2-5% of children and about 15-20% of adults die.
The disease can be easily prevented through the polio vaccine. We shall be discussing more the vaccine later in the article.
Most people who get infected show no symptoms (72 out of 100 people). However, a few symptoms that have been observed are:
- Sore throat
- Stomach pain
The above symptoms usually go away by themselves within 2-5 days. However, a few affected people develop more severe symptoms that might get critical. It might cause problems in the spinal cord and sometimes the brain as well.
The more serious symptoms are:
Paresthesia: You might feel as if someone is poking you with pins and needles in your legs.
Meningitis: About one out of twenty-five patients infected with Poliovirus suffer from meningitis. It infects the covering of the spinal cord. Sometimes the brain is also affected.
Paralysis: This is the deadliest symptoms of the disease. 1 in 200 people infected with Poliovirus suffers from paralysis. It might sometimes result in death also.
Now that we know the symptoms let us understand how polio transmits. Poliovirus is a very contagious virus. It spreads from person to person contact. The virus lives inside the intestine and the throat of the infected person. Poliovirus can spread through:
- Contact with the feces of the infected person
- Droplets of sneeze or cough from the infected person
- Contact with any of the products that have been contaminated with the feces of the infected person
Period Through Which The Virus Might Spread:
The virus can spread itself from the infected person to others immediately before and two weeks after symptoms appear. The virus usually lives in the feces for many weeks. In unhygienic conditions, it contaminates the water and food as well. The virus could also spread from people without any symptoms and make others sick.
Prevention And Treatment:
Polio can be prevented very easily rather than treating it. There are two types of vaccines:
- Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV): Here, the vaccine is injected into the leg or arm depending on the patients’ age. It is the method that is followed in the US since 2000.
- Oral Poliovirus Vaccine (OPV): The vaccine is given as droplets that need to be swallowed. This is the method used in most of the countries.
The polio vaccine prepares the body to fight against the virus. With the help of the vaccine, polio has decreased by 99% across the globe today.
Many countries and NGOs have been working very hard to make their countries polio-free. One of the major NGOs that are at the forefront is Rotary. They have been working hard to eradicate polio.